To celebrate Irish women writers, I am delighted to host a very exciting giveaway on the blog this week.
I will be giving away a hardback copy of The Long Gaze Back, an anthology of short stories by Irish female writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson along with a copy of Maeve Brennan’s novella The Visitor, from which The Long Gaze Back takes its name.
The Long Gaze Back was published last year to showcase the many women writers in Ireland whose work has been overlooked in the past. The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories was published in 1989 and included only 7 women writers out of 39 stories. Worse still, the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing published in 1984 contained no women writers at all.
In 2001, Evelyn Conlon and Hans Christian Oeser edited a collection which aimed to redress the balance. Cutting the Night in Two featured short stories from 34 Irish female writers which made it clear that these writers had always been out there, they just weren’t being heard.
The Long Gaze Back follows on from this, featuring as it does 34 writers and spanning 218 years. The collection includes stories from Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Riddell and Norah Hoult and includes 22 living writers, all of whom have included stories never before published.
The Long Gaze Back is a substantial harvest, a seriously comprehensive and celebratory volume. The Irish Times
Sinéad Gleeson has described the anthology as a triptych, featuring deceased classic writers; well established writers from the last decade like Anne Enright and the new voices currently emerging from Ireland – Belinda McKeon, Mary Costello and Lisa McInerney. The themes covered in the anthology show the breadth and depth of issues facing women today and throughout history – emigration, pregnancy, loss, capitalism, motherhood, ghosts, art and much more.
The Long Gaze Back was the winner of the TheJournal.ie Best Irish-Published Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2015
There’s nothing girly about these stories; there are no clichés, no Mr. Rights, no wedding bells, no evenings with Chardonnay. Instead, this collection represents the richness of women’s lives, past and present. The joy, the compassion, the anger, the sadness. It’s all there. Sunday Independent
Maeve Brenan’s novella The Visitor was written in the mid-1940s but was only discovered in a university archive and republished in 2006.
It tells the haunting story of Anastasia King, who, at the age of 22, following the deaths of her parents, returns to her grandmother’s house in Ireland where she lived as a child. However, instead of solace, she finds coldness and intransigence from her grandmother and comes to realise that refuge may not lie in the past after all.
The Visitor is the work of a sure hand…and Brennan’s prose is terse and exquisitely precise throughout…Only in the work of Emily Dickinson can the same ferocious vision – of love, pain, transgression and death – and economy of expression be found. The Guardian
If you would like to win these two fantastic books, simply comment below telling me either your favourite Irish woman writer or just your favourite woman writer and you will be entered into the draw which will take place on Friday.